You have a Black Sheep Family member? Lets swap stories.

No names please to protect the wicked. :stuck_out_tongue:

So, who was your black sheep in the family? The one person nobody talks about in polite company?

We can share anonymously the relatives we’d never acknowledge in real life. :smiley:

Most of my grand parents and great grand parents were really hard working farmers or oil field workers. Raised big families, paid their bills and got through the Great Depression with as much dignity as possible. Blood was thicker than water. You tried to stand by and support your family no matter what.

This was between 1925-1963 when great grand dad finally died.

The one exception was my great grandfather. AFAIK he never went to jail. But he was one sorry ass character. He abandoned my great grandmother several times and shacked up with various women during his travels. My great grandmother had five young kids at home to raise by herself with no education or job skills.

My grandmother was the eldest of those kids and married at 15 partially to escape the poverty. My granddad supported his wife’s impoverished family and his own young family with his salary from working in the oilfields. My granddad was a fine and honorable man. He took care of great grand mother the rest of her life.

Great granddad never got any better as he aged. He was constantly living off some woman until they threw him out. He’d show back up in my hometown broke and needing a place to stay. My great grandmother had divorced him by then. Members of the family would still give him money or a bed to sleep in for awhile until he took off again for more travels and women. There’s no telling how many bastard kids he sowed in those years before birth control.

One time, great granddad took one of his sons on a trip out of state. My uncle was maybe 17 at the time. Great granddad blew all the travel money and had just enough for one bus ticket home. He took the bus and left my uncle to hitchhike home. It took him over a month to get home :rolleyes: My uncle hated that old man the rest of his life. He used to say, “he wouldn’t piss in his ass if his guts were on fire”. That was his own dad. :eek: But my uncle had a really tough time getting back home with no money. He became a hard man really quick during that trip.

By old age everybody in the family had been burned by great granddad and hated him. My granddad was the only person willing to help him with a place to stay. He repaid them with all sorts of cantankerous behavior. He’d get the mail from the box and burn it. Grandad would find out because the bills would never arrive. The final straw was when he spit in my grandmothers face during an argument. The old man was half senile by then. They finally put his sorry ass in a nursing home.

Even in the nursing home he was a handful. Not long before dying my cousin visited him in the nursing home. He was maybe 11 then. Great grand dad told him to grab this black nurse and f*ck her in the closet. :eek: Quite an eyeopener for a 11 year old. :stuck_out_tongue:

He was a worthless unrepentant old bastard to the very end. He’s buried in the same cemetery as great grand mother. But, on the opposite end. :stuck_out_tongue: She made it clear that she didn’t want to be buried anywhere near him.

My uncle went to prison for cattle rustling. That’s pretty much the most interesting part of any Family Tree Project my kids do.
In my immediate family, I’ve been married and divorced twice and have children from each marriage. My father hasn’t spoken to me in years.

I worked long and hard to become the black sheep of my family. Then my 88-year-old great-uncle married his 21-year-old nurse and took my crown away from me!

According to hushed family legend, one of my great-great-great grandfathers had to leave South Carolina in a hasty manner after killing a neighbor.

I always was told I was the black sheep in the family, by my mother. Then, when I went to India, I discovered my mother was the black sheep and I fit in perfectly!

Rereading my story I realized just how desperate times were before Welfare and food stamps.

Imagine getting abandoned in the Great depression with 5 kids to raise and a run away husband. Great Grandmother fed those kids by washing other peoples clothes, sewing, cooking for other people. You worked back then or you starved.

Extended families had to stick together or die. Like my grandad helping his wife’s family. There was no choice. Any family member that had a couple extra dollars would give it to another family member that had nothing. That’s how rural people survived the great depression.

My maternal grandfather left my grandmother and three daughters to fend for themselves. Actually I think the eldest had already left home, and my mum and her younger sister were something like 10 and 12 at the time. This would have been just post second world war in Scotland. They were dirt poor. My mum grew up in squalor, with nothing, thanks to my grandfather who just disappeared one day and never came back. We think he ended up in America.

That’s pretty much it for the black-sheepedness of my family.

ETA: I just recalled that I heard very recently from my mum that her mum may have turned to prostitution to feed the girls and keep a roof over their head. That’s fucked.

There was the uncle (not blood related) who came to pick up my aunt on their first date in a stolen car.

I did prettymuch what was asked of me even though it was often against my nature: graduated high school, joined the Army & served well, got married, had kids–all in that order–and held a job pretty much the whole time. My big brother, bless him, blazed his own trail, infuriated my parents at every turn, and managed to survive to adulthood scarred, inked, sewn together and reasonably content.

Guess who had to finally give up on getting the family’s approval. I think the lesson here is, the family will tell you what they expect of you, but what they really respect is someone with the balls to tell them to piss off and not look back.

I think it’ll work out for my kids though, because I straight up tell them: go your own way, just keep your hands off what isn’t yours, stay honest, and ask for help when you need it. I can teach them to think critically, but I’m damned if I know the right way to do anything anymore.

The only hard-core black sheep of the family would have to be one of my paternal great-grandfathers (my dad’s mother’s father, specifically). After years of bad behavior, including arrests for passing bad checks and public drunkenness, he disappeared, leaving his wife and daughter (my grandmother) behind. Some clothing presumed to be his was discovered on a riverbank, leading to the assumption that he’d drowned. Without his corpse to confirm these suspicions of his death, though, my great-grandmother wasn’t free to remarry, so she divorced him (scandalous in the 1920’s in semi-rural Wisconsin) in absentia.

Years later, while cleaning out a house following his brother’s death, family members discovered a letter that made it clear that the man hadn’t drowned. In fact, he’d bummed around the region, ending up in Peoria, where he became quite sick; expecting to die, he wrote to his brother and owned up to what he’d done. He recovered from his illness, married a woman who knew nothing about his past, and started another family. My grandmother tracked down one of her half-sisters, and they met several times.

That great-grandfather is the only really bad apple we know about. I have a couple of cousins who have not made the best of their lives. One spent some time in jail as a consequence of behavior related to his drug addiction (he’s recovering and has his life back on track). The other divorced his charming wife in order to pursue an on-again, off-again relationship with a married woman, and he goes in and out of contact with the rest of us. They’ve made some bad decisions and probably have some mental health issues, but it doesn’t strike me as “black sheep” material.

I’m not sure how I managed *not * to be the black sheep of my generation. I was unattractive, clumsy, and perpetually underachieving as a kid, in contrast to my good-looking, athletic, academically talented cousins. While most of my cousins got professional degrees and went on to do cool things, I got a degree in the arts and ended up working in a completely unrelated field. I’m not wealthy, famous, or good-looking, and I’m unashamedly, flagrantly gay (but not in a cool way). By all rights, I *should *be the one that no one talks about, except to gossip about whatever outrageous thing I’ve done now.

I don’t think I can limit it to one, and perhaps it’s not fair to participate because we talk about the black sheep. If we didn’t, we couldn’t discuss family at all.

Cousin: hard-core addict to soft-core drugs (alcohol, pain pills), with some arrests and possible upcoming jail time.

Great-grandfather: impregnated his daughter (my grandmother), who then married a man in his late 60s to escape. Said man then died, leaving her a widow with three kids in the Depression.

Great-grandfather2: numbers racket, bootlegging

Step-great-grandmother: kidnapping, successful, of child from newly deceased 18-year-old daughter-in-law and grieving son (in those days my step-grandfather, as a man, was not able to regain custody of a baby)

Uncle: alleged child molestation while a teacher in a Catholic school (multiple times), some time in a mental institution

Grandmother2: left husband while he was off fighting WWII, 50’s housewife-style addiction to pills [note she is only a step-relative to the cousin above], arrest record, mental illness

Grandfather: time in Leavenworth for going AWOL during WWII to deal with above. Allowed eldest son to be adopted by stepfather rather than pay delinquent child support.

Grandather2: mental illness, severe physical child abuse

Cousin once removed: jail time; given a moniker by the FBI

This is leaving out religious extremism, mere minor personality disorders, and everyday alcoholism.

From my parents-in-law perspective, nothing I could ever do or say would make me (or my husband) the black sheep of the family. Within a week of marrying my sister-in-law, my new brother-in-law proceeded on a string of bank robberies due to his inability to intelligently manage his money.

We’re supporting her until she gets back on her feet. And she’s still with him (which is entirely her prerogative; I don’t really care what happens to her husband, but I do care about SIL, and it’s entirely her choice to do what she wants).

My sister-in-law married a closet sociopath, and after they got married, he came out of the closet.

I’m distantly related toLouis “Lepke” Buchalter, gangster and founder of Murder, Inc. He ended up being executed in the electric chair.

My grandmother kept the relationship secret from her second husband; her sister married into the Buchalter family.

My first thought on reading the OP is “people really don’t talk about the black sheep? Is my family THAT weird?” We not only talk about them, but they’re not even shunned. They’ll show up at Christmas dinner and everyone welcomes them in.

Let’s see, if I limit it to only first cousins and go back as far as grandparents, we have:

  • One guy who abandoned his wife and 6 kids when the oldest kid was middle school aged. This was way-back-when, in the time where women really couldn’t expect to make enough money to raise kids on their own. Oldest kid went to work to help his mother pay for the family.

  • At least 3-4 people have been in jail for anything from drunk driving to minor drug offenses. I don’t think for more than a few months at the most.

  • One cousin set up another cousin for a drug deal so that the first cousin got off. Other cousin went to jail.

  • At least one meth addict that fits some of the worst stereotypes of “meth addict”

  • At least one heroin addict who has come clean, and any number of coke and other hard drug users.

  • One guy dropped dead from coke.

  • At least 2 or 3 young girls finding themselves pregnant by casual boyfriends in their teens/very early 20s

  • Several people who for no other reason but laziness have never held down jobs and live off public assistance.

And that’s just off the top of my head. If I think about it, I’m sure I can come up with more.

On the plus side, I can make an equally-long or longer list of professors, successful small businesspeople, people with advanced degrees, teachers, and general all-around good people. Some of these came from the same families as I list above. Sometimes it boggles the mind.

I am the black sheep. If only because I’m the only one that’s ever stepped up and said, “Hey, that’s fucked up!” after somebody did something to hurt somebody else (mostly me being the one having been hurt). In my family, you’re supposed to shut up and keep smiling.

My fathers’ Aunt was quite the socialite in Melbourne during the 1920, apparently one of her husbands was a bit of a rogue and adventurer. Even now we don’t know a lot about him - even his real name is somewhat in question.

After she died my dad was helping clear out her house and found an old chest with some of the mystery mans belongings, including some artifacts from China and a clock which was a presentation piece to a Naval detachment. It looks like he was part of the relief force to the Foreign Legations in Beijing during the Boxer rebellion and did his fair shair of looting while he was there.

Well, other than me :cool:, there was my paternal grandfather. He was always a bit of a ne’er do well, according to my grandmother’s family, and when my grandmother died at the age of 34 leaving young children, he abandoned the kids. He married about 8 more times, with some of the wives younger than his children. His only contact with family was to try to borrow or make money off them; my father wouldn’t have anything to do with him.

I suspect there was more unsavory stuff but my dad never talked about him so I don’t know for sure.

One of my mid-19th century relatives apparently had one wife in the U.K. and one in Australia.

One of my 20th century relatives had a wife in Italy and one in Canada.